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The sound of silence

Heiligenkreuz Abbey, Europe’s largest Cistercian Monastery, lies behind protective walls, less than half an hour’s drive from Vienna. With an uninterrupted 900 years history of monasticism, Heiligenkreuz is both tourist attraction and deeply spiritual experience.

Founded in 1133, the monastery which has been inhabited ever since by monks, seems surprisingly young at heart. Of the 83 brothers who live here, most are well under 50 years old. And more than a few of them found their way to the monastery via the internet.  The brothers use social media to reach as many people as possible and introduce them to their heritage and their philosophy, which is to appreciate the qualities of the age and yet to live unchanged according to Abbey’s traditional religious principles and monastic rules.  The Cistercian order demands discipline, work and obedience. Severity is their standard, evident as much in the architecture as in their way of life and their robes.

Cistercian monks are immoderate only in their love of God and prayers are their bridge to heaven. The brotherhood gathers several times a day to praise God in the form of a Gregorian chant, sung in unison and without accompaniment, an act designed to restrict individuality and strengthen the community.  Visitors are welcome to listen and bear witness to a medieval ritual full of symbolism and ceremony.  Those wishing to stay in the monastery must observe the rule of silence, because silence is holy here.  The monks of Heiligenkreuz achieved world fame with their beautiful holy voices on releasing their CD, Chant - Music for paradise.  This haunting, yet measured meditation music transports the listener to an inner spiritual place, full of strength, harmony and peace.


A visit to paradise
The first Cistercian monks to live in the Abbey in the 12th century called it „Paradisum“- a paradise. Monks who enter the Abbey feel the presence and closeness of God, they read and meditate on his word, and live at one with their love to him.  You can experience this silent paradise for yourself on a day trip to Heiligenkreuz Abbey.

Opening times: Daily including feast days (except Good Friday and Christmas Eve). It is normally not necessary to book in advance for a guided tour of the Abbey.

Stay at the Abbey
According to the Rule of Saint Benedict, guests should be welcomed as if they were Jesus Christ himself. The hospitality can take many forms: you may come in search of spiritual contemplation, an individual retreat, to relieve stress, to reassess your priorities, to spend a day at the monastery with your family, make a pilgrimage or just to spend a few days in silence in the atmosphere of a simple monastic room.

To arrange your stay contact the guest coordinator:
Brother Nikodemus Betsch,

Monastery Taster
Visitors can stay at the Abbey as a “normal“ guest but there is a “fully immersed” experience on offer for boys (aged from 16) and men who would like to learn more about taking orders.  They can stay for at least four days on the “Kloster auf Zeit” programme, where they live with the monks, completely integrated into the Abbey’s rhythm of worship and work.

Information from Subprior Pater Martin Krutzler,

Cultural Hiking Trail
You can explore an almost limitless network of hiking trails, in an excursion region which extends from the castle ruins of Helenental to the monasteries of Mayerling and Heiligenkreuz.

Make a pilgramage to Heiligenkreuz
Heiligenkreuz itself is a place of pilgrimage on the Via Sacra (Holy Road) which runs from Vienna to Mariazell. In the Middle Ages the Popes furnished this place of pilgrimage with a cross reliquary, which has been on permanent view in the Kreuzkirche since 1983. Many people make a pilgrimage to Heiligenkreuz to draw strength and receive the sacraments, in particular the sacrament of penance.

Daily prayers by the brotherhood
The monks found fame in 2008 with their CD Chant – Music for Paradise. They sing the office in communal prayers five times a day, singing the centuries old Gregorian chants in Latin. Prayers are held in the Abbey Church in summer (May – October).  Please contact the guest coordinator to arrange a visit:

The monks sing communal prayers in centuries old Gregorian Chant five times a day at the following times:

05.15 Vigil
06.00 Lauds
06.25 Conventual Mass (weekdays)
09.30 Solemn Mass with Gregorian chant (Sundays and Feast days)
12.00 Terz and Sext
12.55 None
18.00 Vespers
19.45 Compline with Salve Regina
followed by adoration and rosary in the Krankenkapelle

Chant - Music for Paradise
Universal Music produced a CD of Gregorian chanting with the Cistercian monks of Heiligenkreuz Abbey. The CD which has the title “Chant - Music for Paradise“ was released in 2008 and due to demand it was reissued three times in its first year.

The CD reached the Top Ten in the UK’s pop charts. It topped the classical music charts for months in a dozen countries and the pop charts in many of them. The album went seven times platinum in Austria, platinum in Germany and England, gold in Holland, Poland and several other countries.  It also topped the Billboard chart in the USA. The CD has to date sold over a million copies and is available in most music shops.

Abbey Shop
At the entrance to the Abbey courtyard, opposite the Abbey entrance gate there is a well-stocked shop where you can buy souvenirs, Heiligenkreuz wine, schnapps, liqueurs and other delicious produce.

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The main purpose of the two main domains and is the promotion of Austria as a holiday destination.